DENVER, Colorado, March 18, 2018 – Within the past three months, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service assisted in the protection of nearly 3,000 acres of prime working lands by partnering with four Colorado families as well as Colorado Open Lands, Rio Grande Headwater Land Trust, and Boulder County Parks and Open Space. NRCS contributed $4.96M through its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) to help secure the properties and ensure their agricultural longevity.
ACEP-ALE is designed to protect prime working agricultural lands and from 2014-2018, NRCS invested over $32M, helping 39 Colorado families conserve 106,590 acres.
“ACEP-ALE provides tremendous opportunities,” said Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. “One of the biggest benefits of the program is that it affords us the ability to partner to leverage greater opportunity to help us reach one of our top priorities which is to conserve Colorado’s working farm and ranch lands.”
The protection provided through ACEP-ALE limits non-agricultural uses on enrolled lands. By contributing up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement, and in some cases up to 75 percent for grasslands of special significance, NRCS helps to protect cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land.
“The program has provided win-win scenarios for numerous land stewards across the state,” Evans goes on to say. “Prime ag lands are perpetually protected while the private landowner retains ownership and certain rights to their property affording them the opportunity to pass down their land stewardship legacy.”
NRCS implements its ACEP-ALE program through partnerships with Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental aforementioned organizations, as well as Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the Colorado West Land Trust and many others that have farmland or grassland protection programs.
For additional information about the NRCS, its programs and opportunities including ACEP-ALE, NRCS, please visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov.